Congressman Lowenthal Welcomes Release of Vietnamese Activist Le Quoc Quan

July 1, 2015
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today welcomed news that Vietnamese human rights advocate Le Quoc Quan had been freed after 30 months in prison in Vietnam, but remains convinced that Mr. Quan's persecution is a further example of the Vietnamese government using politically motivated charges to silence dissident voices within the country.

"Mr. Quan is one of the most outspoken dissident voices in Vietnam on the issues of human rights, religious freedom, and the relationship between Hanoi and Beijing. It is no coincidence that he was targeted by the Vietnamese government, which continues to punish citizens that advocate for political reform or any type of association with prodemocracy parties," Congressman Lowenthal said.

"While I celebrate the release of Mr. Quan, the Vietnamese government deserves no praise for the release of someone falsely imprisoned for nothing more than standing up for the basic human rights of the Vietnamese people.  I urge the Vietnamese government to immediately release all prisoners of conscience."

Mr. Quan, a lawyer, was arrested in 2012 and in October, 2013, sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged charges of tax evasion. He was also fined $59,000 in a trial marked by the Vietnamese government's courtroom exclusion of both his family and foreign diplomats who sought to monitor the proceedings.

This was the third time Mr. Quan had been held by the Vietnamese government; the first time for three months in 2007 after returning from studying in the U.S. which also resulted in him being disbarred by the government for "activities to overthrow the regime." The second time was for nine days in 2011, following an attempt by Mr. Quan and democracy advocate Dr. Pham Hong Son to attend the political trial of dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu.

"Since coming to Congress, I have repeatedly called for the immediate release of Mr. Quan and I will continue to press for the Vietnamese government to commit to respecting the human rights of its own citizens," Congressman Lowenthal said.